Scratching for cats is a natural behavior and also serves many purposes. As much as you would not want the cats to do it, since it damages the furniture aesthetics, one should not prevent the natural act. However, you can adopt measures to protect the furniture from damage from cat scratches. A simple way is to cover household furniture with sofa covers or use other deterrent methods.
Here are the reasons cats scratch surfaces:
- To sharpen nails and remove the outer dead skin sheath.
- To determine ranks in case one has several cats to scent-mark territories.
- To exercise and strengthen their body muscles.
- To feel good and release stress to avoid developing unwanted behaviors.
But you can prevent cats from scratching your valuable furniture through the ways discussed below. It is good to exercise patience and be understanding to avoid causing psychological and emotional torture to the cats due to this behavior. Declawing cats is highly prohibited as it causes pain, and the cats may become more aggressive and irritable. In case your cat is already declawed, you should seek professional help for the cat to deal with the trauma and psychological torture that arises as a result.
Ways to stop cats from scratching furniture
1.Behavioral and obedience approach
- One should be selective in stopping bad scratching behavior while appreciating good scratching behavior. You may do this through the following ways:
- Tone variation when the cat scratches the furniture, and applause when it opts to scratch the toys or posts.
- Startle the cat with unpleasant noise such as a can of pebbles and condition the cat to associate unpleasant noise by placing the can next to the furniture.
- Redirect its attention by physically removing it from the furniture
- Spritz cold water on the cat when it starts scratching to help condition it to the repercussions of scratching the furniture.
With time, the cat learns what you expect from it. It associates bad experiences with scratching while it associates treats and applause with doing the right thing. This will deter it from scratching the furniture.
2.Cover up the furniture
You may use covers to prevent the cat from reaching the furniture surface when it starts scratching. Microfiber and plastic seat covers are ideal for sofa and other furniture covers because they deter cats from scratching the furniture surfaces due to their smell and texture. You may also choose to cover the furniture with mask tape or use sticky paws adhesive strips. Installing deterrents such as sound or irritating smell will help keep the cats away from scratching your valuable furniture. Alternatively, one may lock rooms with furniture to prevent access by cats.
3.Redirect cats to stop scratching
There are many ways to redirect cats to scratch posts. Repositioning scratch posts and upgrading them to attract cats to scratch them instead of the furniture is the best option. You should observe the reaction to the scratching post and adjust the location, cover-up material, or just downsize the scratching posts to make them less intimidating.
4.Disable the cat’s scratching capability
Declawing is brutal, and one should not consider this method at all. A better way would be to release the cat to spend more time outdoors. There are plenty of trees and other natural things that a cat can scratch outside to diminish the urge for cats to scratch furniture. A veterinarian may also install soft paws to the cat claws so that in case they scratch furniture, they will not cause any damage. Regular trimming also makes the cat claws blunt and reduces the need to scratch surfaces.
One can train the cat to stop scratching furniture in less than seven days by following a few simple steps. Get interactive cat toys and scratching posts at convenient locations in the house. Choosing the appropriate toys and scratch posts with a material that cats love to scratch will make the training easy. Strategic hang-outs for cats are the living room, windows, and their sleeping areas. Cats love to stretch and scratch after a nap. Try to make the furniture unattractive to scratch so that the cat focuses more on toys and scratching posts. Spraying the toys with honeysuckle or catnip will attract the cats to the scratch items.
Scheduling play sessions with the cat around the cat toys and scratch posts can help the cat discover and endear it to the scratch items. It is also not advisable to replace the torn scratching posts. That shows that your cat enjoys the feel and smell of the torn scratch post and will spend more time there. Replacing it may repel the cat from using it.
Another tip is to be patient as you adopt a friendly approach in discouraging the cat from scratching the furniture. Research and advice from a veterinarian can also help you learn new ways to deter the cat from scratching furniture to maintain it in good condition and ensure that your cat also enjoys its natural scratching act, but on the appropriate surfaces.